The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Writing about emotional experiences to improve lung function and quality of life in patients with asthma: 3-month follow up of a randomised controlled trial

Jones, C.J., Theadom, A., Smith, Helen, Hankins, M., Bowskill, R., Horne, R. and Frew, A.J. (2008) Writing about emotional experiences to improve lung function and quality of life in patients with asthma: 3-month follow up of a randomised controlled trial Thorax, 63, supplement 7, A18-A21.

Record type: Article


Introduction: Stress has been associated with the exacerbation of asthma symptoms. Written emotional disclosure encourages people to write about their most stressful experiences facilitating cognitive and emotional processing. When conducted partly in a research laboratory, written emotional disclosure was found to yield a 12\% increase in FEV1 percentage predicted in people with asthma. Given the link between stress and asthma, this trial was aimed at exploring the effectiveness of a 3-day written emotional disclosure intervention on lung function and quality of life for adults with asthma in a community setting. Methods: A randomised controlled trial was carried out on 138 adults with asthma aged between 18 and 45 years who were recruited through 32 general practices. Participants were randomly allocated to receive the emotional disclosure or the non-emotional control writing instructions. Participants completed the writing in their own home without researcher supervision for 20 minutes over three consecutive days. Assessments of lung function (FEV1 \% predicted) using spirometry and questionnaires measuring quality of life, asthma symptoms, subjective asthma control and medication use were conducted at baseline, 1 and 3-month follow-up (see fig). Results: Baseline analysis showed a significantly higher proportion of smokers in the control condition but no differences in lung function. Controlling for smoking status, no significant findings for lung function, quality of life or asthma symptoms were found. At 3-month follow-up, participants in the intervention condition reported significantly better subjective control of their asthma (as defined by the asthma control test): odds ratio (OR) 3.01, 95\% CL 1.30 to 6.94 and reported significantly better objective control of their asthma (defined as using their b-agonist less than once a day): OR 2.96, 95\% CL 1.38 to 6.33 (see fig). Conclusions: Participants receiving the emotional disclosure intervention were more likely to demonstrate good control of their asthma both by self-report and a reduction in use of b-agonist. Although there was no effect of written emotional disclosure on lung function, this could be due to the observed reduction in bagonist use. These reductions are in line with the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute guidelines, which state that effective management of asthma should involve a reduction in b-agonist use

Full text not available from this repository.

More information

Published date: December 2008
Additional Information: Supplement covering the BTS Winter Meeting 2008: prize symposia, spoken sessions, poster sessions. This was a spoken session.
Keywords: asthma, stress, written emotional disclosure
Organisations: Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences


Local EPrints ID: 343926
ISSN: 0040-6376
PURE UUID: da860654-8dbf-4ee0-84a4-479032f26c7f

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 17 Oct 2012 08:41
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 05:20

Export record


Author: C.J. Jones
Author: A. Theadom
Author: Helen Smith
Author: M. Hankins
Author: R. Bowskill
Author: R. Horne
Author: A.J. Frew

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton:

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.